WL Duffield & Sons, the Norfolk-based regional animal feed manufacturer, marks its 125th year in business this year.
The company can trace its roots back to 1890 when it commenced flour milling from a site a Saxlingham Thorpe in the county. Although the flour activities were discontinued in the early 1990’s, the business continues to make a range of animal feeds for all species. Since the turn of the latest century, it has expanded into Somerset through the acquisition of Pen Mill Feeds and latterly into Kent, through the purchase of the former Grain Harvesters Mill at Wingham. It now employs a staff of over 120 people.
The company produces some 250,000 tonnes of pig, poultry, cattle, sheep, game and specialist feeds each year from the three sites, serving regional markets in East Anglia, the South East and South West. The company also operates the Keepers Choice Game Feed brand which was acquired from Dukes & Botley five years ago.
“I am so proud to be chairman of Duffield’s as it reaches its historic 125th year of trading,” says company chairman and managing director Alistair Duffield, the fourth generation of the family to manage the business. “We are a family-run business steeped in tradition and respect.
“It has been fascinating to learn from the records how my great grandfather leased his first mill in the 1890s, surviving bankruptcy, flooding and the World Wars. We’ve unearthed the company’s original invoice header as well as the remarkable telegram issued by the Government at the start of World War II taking control of flour mills across the country.”
Mr Duffield has compiled a commemorative book, outlining the history of the family-run business over the years, and how it has grown and developed over the period. “Our fleet of lorries in their signature red and yellow colours and badged in our 125th anniversary logos can be seen up and down the country – a massive leap from 1890 when all deliveries were made by horse and cart by just two employees.”